Labour is to force a parliamentary vote to scrap the government’s latest rise in university tuition fees on Wednesday in what it believes is a binding motion.
The move, led by the shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, will put some Conservative MPs in an uncomfortable position at a time when they have been pushing May to reduce the burden of fees on students.
The vote could also prove to be a difficult issue for the DUP, which is supporting the Conservative government but previously voted against increasing the cap on student fees to £9,000 in 2010.
The Northern Irish party’s own website says:
“The DUP remains fully committed to maintaining University fees at a level that will keep University places affordable and allow access to everyone in our society.”
Under the government’s plan, the annual tuition fee cap of £9,000 is to rise by £250 a year, increasing the debt of a student on a four-year course by £1,000 overall.
The Labour party will hold a bid to kill off a rise beyond £9,000-a-year in the House of Commons tomorrow.
No 10 had attempted to get the rise in student fees through parliament earlier in the year using ‘secondary’ laws that aren’t debated or voted on in the Commons chamber, but Labour demanded a vote and more thorough parliamentary scrutiny.
Since then, the government has been trying to avoid a vote in the House of Commons.
Rayner said the government’s desperation to avoid a vote showed the Conservatives “won’t even trust their own MPs to back their latest hike in student fees, so they’re trying to stop us voting on it at all”.
“They may be afraid of debating this issue but we aren’t, so we will now provide the time and the vote using opposition time. The Tories are ripping up the rules of democracy in their desperation to cling to power. They’re not taking back control, they’re trying to take it away.
“This latest tuition fee rise could cost students up to £1,000 more over a university course, yet they are refusing to keep their promise to graduates that the repayment level would go up with inflation. Every MP who votes against us on Wednesday will have to answer to the people they represent if they back ever higher student fees and ever worsening terms for graduates.”